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The Picture Book Buzz

Make More S'mores - Perfect Picture Book Friday #PPBF

I loved Cathy Ballou Mealey's first two books When a Tree Grows and Sloth and Squirrel in a Pickle and was excited to read this one. And not just because it features a favorite camping treat, though that certainly didn't hurt. I am delighted to share with you this week's #PPBF choice, a humorous, touching, rhyming picture book combining generosity and gooey s'mores.

Book cover - Racoon about to bite into a s'more as four bears standing by height stare longingly at the s'more.

Make More S'mores

Author: Cathy Ballou Mealey

Illustrator: Ariel Landy

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press

Ages: 5-8

Fiction


Themes:

Friendship, rhyme, animals, taking things in stride, and kindness.


Synopsis:

Roscoe has his campfire going and is toasting the most perfect marshmallow. He slides it onto a graham cracker, adds a chocolate square, and sandwiches it with another graham--the most perfect s'more--when Grizzly Bear shows up. Roscoe welcomes Grizzly--and bear after bear!--to his gooey forest feast keeping hungry (and grumbly) guests content by sharing s'more after s'more. What to do but make s'more?!


Opening Lines:

Glowing coals are finally ready.

Roscoe holds his sharp stick steady.


Slowly turned and gently roasted,

Soon that fluffy puff is toasted.


What I LOVED about this book:

One of the best parts of camping - besides seeing all the stars - is making s'mores! I can so relate to Roscoe's giddy anticipation of sliding that toasty warm, gooey goodness onto a slab of chocolate and sandwiching it between graham crackers....Mmmm! Why am I so hungry all of a sudden?

Internal spread - on left, Raccoon on a log roasting a marshmallow. On right, Raccoon licking his lips and about to eat a toasty brown marshmallow.

Text © Cathy Ballou Mealey, 2024. Image © Ariel Landy, 2024.


Ariel Landy's colorful, sweet illustrations are so expressive and fun. Unfortunately for Roscoe, just as he's about to eat his s'more, Grizzly Bear appears. Roscoe graciously hands over the s'more and "Grizzly gulps the gooey treat." Then . . .

Internal spread - Grizzly bear sits on a log, set on a rock, and launches Raccoon, graham crackers, marshmallows, & chocolate into the air,

Text © Cathy Ballou Mealey, 2024. Image © Ariel Landy, 2024.


“More?”

asks Grizzly.


“Sure, let’s see . . .

One for you and one for me.”


What a great page turn; I love Ariel's inclusion of a little fulcrum science! And I adore Roscoe's reaction as his meticulous organization goes awry and he and his supplies are launched into the air. Throughout the book, kids will enjoy "guessing" what happens next, as the illustrations wonderfully offer clues (bear cub toes dangling from the tress overhead) of which Roscoe remains blissfully unaware. The unperturbable raccoon makes two more s'mores and just as he and Grizzly are about to take a bite, two black bear cubs drop in. Roscoe convinces a grumbly Grizzly to share. As he sets about to make four "s'more," an unscripted trio attempt to intervene.

Internal spread - on left Raccoon holds a stack of four marshmallows with a squirrel dangling a the right of the frame. On the right Raccoon toasts four marshmallows as three squirrels form a dangling chain and try to reach the marshmallows.

Text © Cathy Ballou Mealey, 2024. Image © Ariel Landy, 2024.


Much to Cathy's delight (see Monday's interview), Ariel added three sneaky squirrels to the story. Poor Roscoe, friends keep popping by, then his stick breaks and "SNAP! /SPARK! / POOF!" it looks like he'll never get to eat a s'more. But graciousness and friendship prevail to create a tender, satisfying ending for all. Perfect for camping or everyday reading, it's a wonderful rhyming book about friendship, kindness, taking things in stride, and of course - S'MORES!

Resources:

Photo of S'mores from Herseyland ideas for cooking then at home.

  • pair this with Dozens of Doughnuts by Carrie Finison, iIlustrated by Brianne Farley and Julia's House For Lost Creatures by Ben Hatke.



Comments


Maria Marshall

 Photograph © A. Marshall

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